AOL founder Steve Case explains how Utah, Silicon Slopes can help technology

AOL founder Steve Case explains how Utah, Silicon Slopes can help technology

SALT LAKE CITY — AOL founder Steve Case said a “third wave” of technology is coming, one that’s going to be focused on partnerships and policy, and Utah could play a role.

What happened: Case spoke at the Silicon Slopes tech summit Friday morning, focusing on the future of technology. It was an interesting take for the founder of AOL, which revolutionized the internet in the late ’90s.

  • Case said AOL once had “half the internet traffic” in what was the first wave of tech growth.
  • The second wave included marketing software. Facebook, Twitter, Google and others contributed to the second wave.

The third wave: The third wave, though, will come soon. It will require partnerships, Case said. He said the next phase will present “systems-level” challenges.

  • For example, companies will need to partner together to reach the next level of tech, which includes smart cities and smart buildings. Or improvement in health care, which would require regulation.
  • Case said there will need to be thought around policy and regulation, too. Tech companies will need to partner together to help pass policies. They will need to work with lawmakers.
  • “How do you make sure you’re unleashing the next wave of innovation?”
  • “How do you make sure we have a more inclusive innovative economy?”

How Utah plays a role: Case said the tech industry and the country can’t rely on one area of the country. New places like Utah, Denver and Chicago need to lead out.

  • “We have to figure out a way to level that playing field.”
  • Venture capitalists must look at “what’s happening in the Silicon Slopes” and make sure it “is happening other places.”
  • “My hope is 25 years from now we’re living in a world where America is leading the pack in terms of innovation. … That cannot happen without all of you. What you’re doing … is critically important.”

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